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Frankenmuth Michigan Snowfest 2019

Updated on January 29, 2019
Leland Johnson profile image

Leland is a man of many interests including: history, politics, religion, and, lest all study and no play make Lee a dull boy, adventure!

Zehnder’s Snowfest 2019

Nothing to do in the Winter? There’s Plenty of Great Activities in Frankenmuth MI

There’s always something happening in Frankenmuth. Kayaking, beer fests, excellent hotels, fabulous dining- I could go on! But every January Michiganians gear up for the Zehnder’s Snowfest. This festival features world class ice sculptors, pony rides, exotic animal petting pens, live music, and much more.

This year’s Snowfest was particularly good because the weather was perfect. You might wonder how perfect weather could ever be considered perfect at 12 degrees F. Well, although that might be just a tad cold for most humans, it’s pretty mild for most Michigan natives...ok, for some Michigan natives (we know how to layer). The low temperatures were low enough to keep the sculptures from melting, and high enough to keep the tourists happy. It wasn’t bad as long as you were moving. However, when there are dozens of sculputures demanding your attention it’s hard not to stop and gawk for a while. Let’s take a look at some!

Our Favorite

My wife, Sondra, and I agreed upon this one as being our favorite. It had no label, most if not all don’t, so I don’t know what to call it. It looked like a piece of modern art, the delicate rings seeming to defy gravity. It would’ve been wonderful to be able to watch them work and see just how they pulled it off, but we were a day late. That’s ok. I don’t need to see how the chef prepares the food. Just let me eat!

The Plumber

At the other end of the spectrum we found this artistically crude and clever sculpture of a plumber showing the quintessential gluteal seperation. Note the drink atop the sink. Also note how he is reaching for a tool yet is in for a rude awakening as he grabs, not his wrench, but a dog’s tail! What attention to detail by the artist. How often to you get the chance to gasp in wonder then turn around and belly laugh? This is just one aspect of why the Snowfest is so specia.

Bulls, Spiders, and X-Wing Fighters!

There really is something for everyone. What you are seeing here is pretty a small representation of the many sculptures that were open to the public, and all of them are of the highest quality.

Snowfests of the past have had their troubles. Though the talent is always top-notch, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. This was definitely one of the better years; in fact it was the best one I’ve attended weather-wise.

Sculptures, Animals, and Food. What More Could you Want?

Got Chicken?

Who Loves Chicken? Who Doesn’t!

Everybody has a chicken lover in the family so why not treat them, and yourself, to some of the best chicken in the state? On a cold day such as this a hot chicken sandwhich smothered in gravy really hits the spot, but so does a steaming cup of soup. Zehnder’s has an excellent selection of soups and salads in the bakery/deli section of the restaurant located in the basement. It’s a great reprieve from the cold outdoors and boasts the highest quality of both service as well as products. Many gift shops are found down there as well.

Frankenmuth Michigan

Frankenmuth MI:
Frankenmuth, MI, USA

get directions

Frankenmuth is a beautiful village modeled after small towns and burghs in Germany.

Zehnders family restaurant:
730 S Main St, Frankenmuth, MI 48734, USA

get directions

Puppy Pals for Petting and Pictures

Pics for a Price

For $5 you could pick up a puppy and have your picture taken with it. This struck me as inappropriate and rubbed me the wrong way. However, my wife, always seeing the positive side of things, suggested perhaps the money went to a shelter. Then I felt guilty for not paying the $5. Oh well, there’s next year.

Would you Walk a Mile for a Camel?

This handsome fellow certainly was a long way from home. Goats, puppies, ponies, and camels like this one were available for petting and feeding. I kept my distance from the camel though. I had a fairly disturbing experience with a llama as a child that involved popcorn and spitting, and I wasn’t the one doing the spitting. Knowing that dromedaries as well as alpacas (they are in the same family) are capable of loogie tossing I thought it best to stay close to the puppies as seen in the video.

While the camel stirred up a few unpleasant memories the rest of the day was filled only with making new ones. There is so much to see and do in Frankenmuth I recommend taking a few days and checking into some of the wonderful accommodations found right in town. The cuisine is wonderful, the atmosphere found elsewhere only in Deutschland itself. Maybe we’ll see you there next year. Until then, aufwedersehen!

© 2019 Leland Johnson


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    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      11 months ago from Midland MI

      That's great! Thanks Ms. Dora

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      11 months ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Leland, just came by to let you know that I linked this article in the introduction of my new article, titled "30 Winter Quotes with Warm Sentiments."

      Thanks for the invitation. I'll certainly call on you if I ever visit your area again. Happy 2020 Winter!

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      16 months ago from Midland MI

      Hi Vivian, I live about 45 minutes from Frankenmuth so I’ve never stayed in any of their hotels. We usually eat at Zehnders family restaurant, I believe there’s a shot of it’s frontage in the article??? It’s a beautiful town. I lived in Germany for 2 years so it carries a special sentiment for me. We also eat at The Brewry. It’s right on the river and has a great view if you dine on the veranda. Food is great too! Also, if you eat at Zehnder’s during your birthday month you get a free chicken dinner. You have to register in advance online for the free dinner. It’s worth it. It’s a $25 value. There’s a beautiful boat ride that takes you up and down the river, very reasonably priced. Lots of bakery’s, candy shops, coffee shops, cool stores, etc. There’s a pizza joint near Zehnder’s, but I don’t care for it. I didn’t like the service or the food. I’ve never been to splash village, but I’ve heard good things about it. There’s an excellent mini/strip mall by the river with a used book store that I love. Lots of interesting shops in this mall and its indoor-outdoor. Sometimes they have musicians playing in the quad and it’s very nice. I hope you have a great visit!

    • Noelle7 profile image

      Vivian Coblentz 

      16 months ago


      I'm a Christmas fanatic, and my dad mentioned Frankenmuth has the world's largest Christmas store. I did some online research and found there's a ton to do there, so our family is planning a trip there next summer (we already did the beach this year!). Have you ever been to the Bavarian Inn? We are considering staying there, and I wondered if you've ever been there. I'm phobic about cleanliness and always worried the room won't meet my standards.

      Our kids want to go to Zehnder's Splash Village indoor waterpark, but the reviews pretty much sound like you'll gag on the chlorine smell. Have you ever been there? If so, what's your take?

      In your opinion, what are the best restaurants for dinner?

      Any other tips you have about the area would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      Hi Linda, it was so much fun and you should definitely come next year. Lots of Canadians come, Germans too! Very authentic German atmosphere. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The sculptures look excellent and the festival sounds like a lot of fun. I wish I could see it in person. Thanks for sharing your photos and experiences in this enjoyable article, Leland.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      Ms. Dora- You made me smile thinking about getting lost in Michigan, something that’s not hard to do. I can’t think of a better place to get lost though. Isn’t Frankenmuth a lovely town? I’m glad you were here and had the opportunity to see the ice sculptures at Snowfest. If you come by again give me a heads up and we’ll all grab a coffee at Zehnders!

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      Liz- you know that sounds familiar. I may have read about the “ice hotel” at some point or seen it on TV. Thank you for your kind comments and for reading my article. It really was a fun day filled with wondrous sights.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      Paula, the feeling is absolutely mutual and reciprocated. Your comments and responses to people are so intelligent and funny- a compliment from you is very special. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      21 months ago from Carson City

      Leland.....Quite simply, YOU are a wonderfully entertaining writer. I truly enjoy your articles. This is a winner! Peace, Paula

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      Traveling in Michigan one winter, my friends and I came upon the ice sculptures in Frankenmuth by accident. It was the best reward for getting lost. We thoroughly enjoyed the town and its festivities. Thanks for the memories.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      21 months ago from UK

      I hsve just read a newspaper article about an ice hotel, where one of the activities available is ice sculpting. But the pictures you have hear far outpass the ones from the hotel. It looks like a great experience.

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      The detail on some of the sculptures was just amazing. It’s inspiring.

    • Noelle7 profile image

      Vivian Coblentz 

      21 months ago

      Wow! Those ice sculptures are spectacular! The whole thing looks like the perfect backdrop for a Hallmark Christmas movie!

    • Leland Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Leland Johnson 

      21 months ago from Midland MI

      How about that, I'm from the Thumb too! a little town called Sebewaing. It means "crooked river." Ever heard of it? Anyway, thanks for sharing. That's cool that you've been up here.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      21 months ago from USA

      It's been years since I've visited here. My sister used to live in "the thumb" and we traveled here when I visited her. They had some excellent homemade crafts that I could not find anywhere else. Well, I guess Etsy may have them today, but it was a whole lot more fun to shop Frankenmuth. Great sculptures! I never went in the winter.


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